The creep of lead-free solders at elevated temperatures

Plumbridge, W. J.; Gagg, C. R. and Peters, S. (2001). The creep of lead-free solders at elevated temperatures. Journal of Electronic Materials, 30(9) pp. 1178–1183.



Full implementation of the new generation of lead-free solders requires a detailed knowledge and understanding of their mechanical behavior. This paper reports an investigation of the creep behavior of three lead-free alloys: Sn-0.5 Cu, Sn-3.5 Ag, and Sn-3.8Ag-0.7Cu, at 75°C, and compares their response to that of Sn-37Pb at the same temperature. In terms of stress and time to rupture, the Sn-0.5Cu alloy behaves similarly to the eutectic Sn-Pb over the range of rupture lives considered (up to 1000 h). The silver-containing alloys exhibit much greater creep resistance, typically a hundred fold and a thousand fold for the binary and tenanary, respectively. These alloys are less ductile but their creep strains to failure are generally above ten percent. Their minimum creep rates are at least 100 times slower. When testing at the same homologous temperature (0.76), the silver-containing alloys retain the substantial superiority. The relationship between applied steady-state (or minimum) creep rate behavior is best described by a power law equation, although the steady state domain generally occupies less than 30 percent of life. The microstructural changes induced by creep are briefly described and used to explain some of the creep characteristics of the alloys.

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